Ian takes arguments for reincarnation and views them through a Swedenborgian lens. He changes the question from 'does reincarnation exist?' to 'how could one's experience appear like reincarnation?' -Editor
According to Emanuel Swedenborg, we only live once on earth. After death we live in a spiritual world and move eventually to a permanent place that depends on the spiritual nature we created by our actions on earth. We are not reborn or reincarnated again on earth, to have another attempt to do better next time.
Historically, however, there have been many stories about reincarnation, notably the "transmigration of souls" (metempsychosis) that Plato describes in the Republic. Reincarnation has been an essential part of Hinduism and Buddhism. It is interesting to see when it became popular in the west. We might assume it came with the great interest in spiritualism in Europe and America that started in the 1840s, which lead to a great many scientists becoming interested in it, with the formation of the learned societies of psychical research in the period 1850-1900. But it did not: there was no hint of reincarnation among those beliefs. Instead, it came through the books of theosophists like Annie Besant and was imported into western thought from the early 1900s. It has subsequently become rather widespread among spirit communicators, and it is especially dominant in the "channelled works" written under dictation from spirit sources that claim higher knowledge.